Personal Presentation for Success: Jerako Wendt

In less than a week we will be holding our Personal Presentation for Success: A Public Speaking Workshop. Earlier you met one of our facilitators Roxana Radulescu, and now we are happy to introduce our second facilitator: Jerako Wendt. Jerako is a storyteller, award-winning Toastmaster, community leader and humanitarian, making her the perfect person to carry us through this public speaking workshop. But until then, here’s a little more about Jerako (I personally love her last point).

How did your discover your interest in public speaking/personal skills development?

I was always interested in acting, probably because my father was an actor; in any case through acting I discovered my interest in public speaking. I also found Lisa Nichols and Les Brown to be so inspiring that my interest in public speaking for the purpose of personal skills development became what it is today.

In your career thus far, what would you say are some of your lessons learned?

I'll give you three that come to mind as I respond to you now but for what it's worth the answer to this question changes regularly. 1. Be professional, there is nothing wrong with making mistakes but own them and be professional at all times. 2. People need to like you to be patient with you. If you're finding that there is a lack of leadership or patience, find another company or group who will work with you or go out on your own. 3. Work hard, what that means to me is don't make any excuses for delivering. Give the client or your boss what they want when they want it or as close to that due date as possible, make sure they see that you're working hard to do so.


Why do you think communications skills are important, especially when it comes to the workplace?

If you have communication skills, you have a constant life line. You can explain yourself, help people understand, get the message across but if you don't have communication skills, you're waiting for them to just figure it out ... it's way more empowering to be able to communicate effectively.

Given your experience training executives and professionals, when it comes to communication, what is one mistake (or mistakes) you often see women making?

One mistake I often see women making is explaining the reason or giving an excuse for "something" without having been asked. It's dis-empowering. Unless you're asked why is the report late ... for example, don't start in with I had this to do and that to do .... and then apologizing on top of it just dis-empowers you.

What advice would you give to women either starting out in their career or making a transition?

Don't get married unless your husband is your business partner or he is very rich. Men will hold you back from achieving your goal.

Jerako Wendt is a sought-after storyteller, award-winning distinguished Toastmaster, community leader, and humanitarian. After obtaining her B.A. Honors in English, she pursued a career as an actor; only to return to school to become a producer, paralegal, and mediator amongst other things. She leverages her storytelling powers in various arenas: creating films; writing books; mediating human rights disputes; facilitating workshops and delivering inspiring and informative speeches across North and South America. Jerako is also the founder and co-chair of Building Beyond Borders, a not-for-profit organization that helps rebuild schools in the Caribbean and South America. She’s currently pursuing a law degree, completing her masters in English Literature, writing her second book, and preparing to launch her vlog on December 3rd, 2018.

Personal Presentation for Success: Roxana Radulescu

Next week we will be holding our Personal Presentation for Success: A Public Speak Workshop, so we thought it was a great time to introduce you to our facilitators. First up is Roxana Radulescu, the Founder of All Personal, a bespoke training and coaching agency, as well as host of the All Personal Podcast. We sat down with Roxana to find out a little more about our workshop warrior.

How did you discover your interest in public speaking/personal skills development?

I was an IT trainer for an international law firm (about 15 years ago). And one day I had to do a mini-training session for all the lawyers in our office – in 5 minutes. On Excel! I remember I worked for those 5 minutes about 5 hours to make it easy to understand, engaging and fun! And it was. Imagine a room of about 30 lawyers, eyes on you. Imagine you speak about Excel. Imagine they laugh and shake their heads in understanding. And now imagine they ask for a next one. That’s when I knew I loved presenting. And then I went for learning & development, creating and designing ‘soft’ skills courses and having such a great time doing that! To me, it’s easy: presenting and public speaking are the same as providing services. If there’s value in what you give, people will love it. And you will love it more.

Thus far in your career, what would you say are some of your lessons learned?

Biggest lesson: asking questions is the ultimate proof of really listening to someone! And it’s one exercise I am practicing each day, because good questions at the right time are sometimes all we need, especially when we want to work well with others.


Why do you think communication skills are important, especially when it comes to the workplace?

Communication skills are at the core of what makes us human. The better we’re able to communicate our wants and needs, and the more we’re able to depict them from others around us, the better our relationships are. The better our relationships, the better the quality of our lives, because, ultimately, we are ‘social animals’ – both at work and at home. We all crave to be heard, understood and accepted. Or, better yet, loved.

Given your experience training executives and professionals, when it comes to communication, what is one mistake you often see women making?

Not communicating – their expectations, their ideas, their wishes, their refusals, their frustrations, their needs. Not communicating and trying to fix the problem themselves, before anyone else knows there even is a problem.

What advice would you give to women either starting out in their career or making a transition?

I don’t like to give advice, I love asking questions. ‘If you had a Superpower, what would it be? What would you do, how would you walk, how would you talk? Who would you be? How much of that power is already in you now? Who are You and what do you really want for Yourself?’

Roxana Radulescu is the Founder of All Personal, a bespoke training and coaching agency. She helps individuals (re)discover and work-out their personal skills ‘muscles’, so they increase their self-awareness and improve their confidence, impact, relationships, and ultimately, quality of life. She trains and coaches executives, business owners and professionals on practical techniques that they can easily apply in any area of their life, with a strong focus on communication (verbal and non-verbal), change, feedback, presenting & speaking, team & self-management, teamwork, leadership, coaching & mentoring.

Women in STEM Recap


While an increasingly larger number of women are choosing to pursue degrees in the traditionally male-dominated STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) the percentage of women actually working in these fields has not changed much in the last three decades. There has been much research into the reasons behind these stagnant numbers, yet many of the forces keeping women from progressing remain invisible from the outside. With the recent rise of movements like #metoo and #timesup, issues of blatant harassment and discrimination have been brought to the media spotlight.  But there are also deeper, more implicit issues embedded within organizations such as gender stereotyping, implicit bias and even women holding themselves back.

As I walked out of the elevators into the beautiful space provided by Telus Digital for the STEM Panel hosted by Young Women in Business, I couldn’t help but wonder: What am I going to learn today that I don’t already know?

After my pre-event duties as part of the organizing committee, I settled into my seat amongst the crowd which, I happily noted, was very diverse. People of all ages, genders and career paths had come out to listen to the wisdom departed by the panelists.

This, to me, was enough evidence these issues we tend to associate with women actually indirectly affect everyone. It speaks to the importance of having colleagues and friends from all walks of life in one’s support system. At the front of the room sat our accomplished, professional panelists – Dr. Ilana MacDonald, Abhilasha Bhatia, Barbara Robinson and Dr. Sarah Mayes-Tang.

Who were the panelists?

Check out these blog posts to learn more about the panelists:

Ruth Fernandez, MAPC

Dr. Ilana MacDonald

Abhilasha Bhatia

Barbara A. Robinson, M.A.Sc., P.Eng.,

Dr. Sarah Mayes-Tang

The conversation, moderated by Ruth Fernandez, covered a wide range of topics that ranged from anecdotal experiences of discrimination in the workplace, to tips and strategies on how to overcome these obstacles in the workplace. Amidst jokes about sewage systems, Barbara talked about starting off as an engineer and eventually becoming so good at her job she was able to start a company of her own. That, to me, is the definition of perseverance and her passion for her work is something that I strive to have in my own life.

When the impressively-dressed Dr. Sarah Mayes-Tang mentioned she second guesses the way she dresses out of fear that she won’t be taken seriously, I wanted to stand up and say “hey me too”. As ridiculous as it might seem, it made me realize women tend to think about things that wouldn’t even cross a man’s mind! The conversation continued with Dr. Ilana MacDonald confirming that, “No, all astrophysicists do not act or talk like the guys from the Big Bang Theory”.  Dr. MacDonald went on to discuss all the stereotypes she constantly has to dispel around both astrophysics and being a woman in astrophysics.

While I learned something from each panelist, the one thing that resonated with me the most was when Abhilasha Bhatia was asked how she handles being an introvert in a job that requires collaboration. She gracefully replied, “You don’t have to be loud to do your job, right?”  The applause from the audience was awe-inspiring and reaffirmed for me that there is nothing wrong in being yourself, as you are. I think this is something women especially tend to struggle with and will often change how they behave to fit certain expectations in the workplace. In fact, I have even been told to speak up more during meetings at work because “that’s what great leaders do”.

As I walked out of the event that day, I thought to myself, I should have more discussions about these kinds of topics with both male and female colleagues. I might just surprise myself with all there is to learn and how shared our experiences can be.   

Parting thoughts

The panel noted how everyone, even accomplished women, will suffer from imposter syndrome quite often. They said that we all need to tell each other how great we are doing, and the great job we do everyday, and to recognize each other’s efforts as often as possible.

The panel reinforced the need to have a support network. Whether they are your friends, family or like-minded colleagues, they recommended to rely and uplift one another. They noted that there will be difficult times when you’d want to leave the industry altogether, but that having this support system and sounding board will help you persevere in the field you love.

Learning More

YWiB created a handbook with resources to support you, our community, as you continue to forge ahead and take action in your career. The dropbox link is below:

Please also utilize this folder containing resources from Canada Business Ontario.

You’re welcome to share this information with anyone.

Runway to Success

Any chance I get, I enjoy keeping up with the latest fashion trends with a good fashion magazine. As I peruse, two things come to mind; I wish I could own a beautiful high end  fashion item and what store would have a similar item at a price I can afford. What if you could own a designer item without the hefty price tag? I may have the answer we all have been looking for to solve our fashion woes! I can’t take any of the credit for this amazing find, you will have to thank Maryna and Laura of Eivey. They started an amazing business and I am excited to share their story on how they got where they are and how it’s possible to follow your own dreams of being a Femtrepreneur too.


Tell us about the company?

Eivey is a beautiful, easy and safe solution to buy and sell preowned, luxury fashion from the convenience of your home.

We launched Eivey after realizing that we had many luxury items our own closets that we wanted to sell, but we wanted to avoid the hassle of scheduling meet­ups for each piece with our busy schedules.

This is why Eivey is more than a listings website, it’s a full-service solution for anyone looking to buy or sell pre-owned luxury goods.  Not only do we connect buyers and sellers across Canada, we also facilitate the shipping between buyer and seller while allowing for the same level of communication you’d see on a listings site. 

For example, once a seller has uploaded  their posting, buyers can communicate with them on the platform.  Once they’ve finalized the sale, Eivey provides a pre-paid, pre-addressed, tracked mailing kit to ensure ease and convenience of deliveries.  It’s a really transparent process and the feedback has been really positive!

How did the founders, Maryna and Laura of Eivey start the company? What kind of career backgrounds do they have?

We are close friends and have always been honest with each other about our aspirations and our overflowing closets!. We wanted to create a way to sell our clothes, shoes and bags without meeting the buyer, which is a common process in Laura’s native Germany. We looked for an alternative but found that there were no efficient solutions in Canada that would combine a beautiful shopping experience with an efficient transaction.

We’re both very creative by nature. Maryna has a background in marketing for luxury fashion and hospitality having worked with both Holt Renfrew and the Fairmont Hotels.  Laura is a freelance art director who specialized in brand development and editorial design for various industries.  Our skills really complement each other and have contributed to the success of Eivey.

What has been the most rewarding part of having a business so far?

The support we have received from our Eivey members has been really rewarding, not to mention the family, friends and members of our networks that continually believe in our company.. Launching a business really does take a village and we’re so grateful for the help and encouragement we’ve received so far.

What advice can you give to women out there who want to start their own business?

Be passionate about what you are doing

As you start to build your business, you’ll need to sell your concept to everyone from customers to suppliers and vendors. Be prepared to talk passionately and concisely with a range of audiences, you never know where a network connection will come from. You will also need to invest your free time into growing your business so it needs to be something that you truly love and want to immerse yourself in wholeheartedly.

Do what you know or are excited to know

Our business heavily relies on our combined experience from fashion, branding, design and marketing. Outsourcing and hiring professionals can be expensive, so relying on yourself means you should have experience in the field you are going into. Undoubtedly, there are gaps we have to fill and a few skills you can learn on the go, but we run 80% of it on our own. For the suppliers and vendors that are outsourced, ensure that you are confident in them and that they identify with your business objectives and brand message. You’ll find these people through your network, so get building.

There’s no place to hide!

For the longest time we thought we could hide behind our brand and let it do the talking. However, transparency is becoming more important and people want to know about the people behind the business. Exposing ourselves was our challenge we overcame and we’re now more open than ever with the Eivey community. Small businesses will constantly test your boundaries so be ready to walk right into situations you might have otherwise tried to avoid, whatever they may be.

We all have that favourite go to accessory or article of clothing that makes an outfit. What is Maryna and Laura’s go to piece before heading out the door?

“Sunglasses are very important to me,” comments Laura.  “They can make you look like  a million dollars with little effort.  Depending on the shape and shade of the sunglasses, they can also change your overall look from elegant chic to super trendy.”

“I barely left the house without a light floral Kimono this Summer,” comments Maryna.  “Layers are perfect for the ever-changing Canadian weather and I  can’t pass up an opportunity to add a little drama and colour to a simple outfit.”

A lot of us experience those interview jitters when preparing for an interview, especially on what we should wear. Can you give our readers some tips on what to wear to look and feel like a billion bucks?

Both of us always get the very nervous before any interview or presentation in our own way so choosing the right outfit is important. We want to look and feel comfortable and confident when making that first impression. Our advice is to think about the environment you’ll be in. Is the company you’re interviewing at corporate or casual? Is your presentation indoors or outdoors? Our go to is pastel and light-coloured pieces that give your body some sort of structure, such as a form­-fitted dress, pants or a blazer. A top tip is to take a photo of yourself in the outfit to ensure it is perfect and that you love how you look in it, photos don’t lie.

Where to find Eivey

If you are interested in purchasing or selling your designer fashion items you can learn more on

A big thank you to Maryna and Laura for sharing Eivey’s story with our YWiB Community. We are always so thrilled to share one’s story with aspiring female entrepreneurs.


Margaret Saliba

Margaret always had a passion for writing and recently accomplished one of her goals to start a lifestyle blog. She is interested in strengthening her knowledge in Digital Marketing, Social Media, and turning her lifelong passion for learning into a career. 

Follow Margaret on IG and Twitter!

August Networking Event Recap

As an incoming second year Special Event Management Student, it’s extremely important for me to grow my network as it will play a pivotal role in the process of achieving my dream job. I took the liberty of attending a few of networking events during my first year of post-secondary school; however, none of them were as amazing as the August Networking Night located at The Bottom Line in the downtown core of Toronto. With a turn out of 55 people, I have had the blessing of meeting and connecting with several incredible women from various industries, without feeling nervous or intimidated whatsoever. This is a huge improvement for myself as I am notorious for being wildly nervous or intimidated at networking events.

Image from iOS.jpg

I believe the reason behind my nervousness and intimidation disappearing was the relaxed, yet professional setting that was organized by the YWiB team. Tonight’s choice of venue was a beautiful sports bar that was the perfect of blend of classy and casual. The bar tops consisted of black granite that gave the venue a stylish look, meanwhile the wooden tables and comfy red seating created a laid-back ambience. To top it all off, there was simple decor present that consisted of chalk signs reading “#YWiBTO,” giving the event a warm and welcoming touch.


Aside from networking, the event also included activities to break the ice among all the attendees. The agenda consisted of the following: 30 minutes of mingling, 30 minutes of an icebreaker, 1 hour of networking, 30 minutes of a second icebreaker, and 30 minutes of last minute networking. The three hours flew by in a matter of seconds; but I did end up with two memories that are my personal favourites from the night.

My first memory includes talking to professionals that already work in the industry that I want to work in as an Event Specialist, the corporate sector. Despite the fact that they are working in positions that are not related to events, it was eye-opening to learn about a number of companies, their company cultures and their company philanthropic activities. Likewise, I believe this information will come in very useful when searching for companies to apply for in the near future.

My second memory is listening to the attendees’ pitches during the second icebreaker called “What’s Your Pitch?” The objective of the icebreaker is to share something about yourself and what you want to achieve from the networking event within 20 seconds. This is an important skill to master because there are certain situations in life where you’ll only be given 1 minute to explain a topic or answer a question. For instance, you’re in an elevator with the HR of the company that you’re applying for, and you only have 1 minute to answer their question of who you are and why you’re there. Nonetheless, it was absolutely amazing to the attendees present their pitches with such enthusiasm and energy!


All in all, it was incredibly beautiful to see women from different walks of life empowering and uplifting each other by sharing ideas and industry knowledge. I am so proud to be a part of YWiB Toronto because it is such a positive and inspiring community. Also, as a person who is new to Toronto, I am happy to call this community my home away from home. I am beyond excited for the September’s STEM Q&A Panel that’s taking place on September 13, 2018! I have no doubt that it will be just as amazing as this month’s event.

In case you missed August’s Networking Night, here are the icebreaker questions:

  1. What do you have in common with the person on your left?

  2. Tell us about yourself and what do you hope to gain from tonight’s event?

Written by; Eilleen Faraon 

Women in STEM: Barbara Robinson


What made you want to participate in this panel discussion?

I was moved to participate in this panel because it is essential that we get more women in STEM fields. Women think differently than men so we have a great deal to add to the conversation. However, working in a STEM field is not for the faint of heart. There are many reasons why it is more challenging to be female. Indeed, many studies have shown that women who graduate engineering leave the profession within 5 to 7 years, citing lack of acceptance, opportunity, respect, etc. I’d like women considering STEM fields to be aware of this.

What are some things you do outside of work to help you develop personally and professionally?

Well, I am naturally a jock so keeping up with sports was easy for me, but almost essential in STEM fields. I took golf lessons early in my career and golf about as well as the average men in my field. I also play hockey (which I have done all my life) so organized company hockey clubs as well as client hockey challenges, which again helped me to be one of the “guys”. This won’t be as important for younger women, but a lot of work gets done on the golf course. Long-term, I have many friendships in my field, mostly with men (necessarily). I have intentionally reached out to other senior women for a support network, but in my cohort, we were very few. I do an awful lot of volunteering. I maintain a balanced life, which is important in any career.

What has been the biggest learning curve in your career?

As I progressed in my career, I realized that being a woman in charge of men was always going to be problematic for some men. When I reached the “pinnacle” of my career (City Engineer for Kitchener), it became obvious that being female was a real detriment to succeeding. Also, on numerous occasions I went to HR with concerns over how I was being treated. It never worked out well. Also, how to deflect male advances without making a scene. Hopefully, in this day and age, that is changing. Now that I run my own company, I don’t (much) have to deal with these things.

When you think about your journey thus far, what would you say was the one trait that helped you get you to where you are today?

One trait that has worked for me was that I am naturally assertive. However, a woman who is assertive is considered “bossy” or “bitchy” as opposed to a natural leader, as a man would be perceived. I was told as much by very senior management in one of my senior roles. Not being assertive will probably result in not getting those promotions, but it’s a two-edged sword. But, regardless of anything else, always be kind to everyone around you, from the cleaners to the admin staff. That is the true test of character.

What advice would you give to other women working in STEM?

Do it!  Just be prepared, form a network of support, ask for help, work hard, and you’ll get there… Make sure you marry someone who believes in true equality (e.g. emotional energy of running a household and raising kids) 😊

Who do you look up to, and why?

Catherine Fife, MPP for Waterloo; my best friend (not in STEM) who is a beautiful soul, people who are actively involved in community, my sister-in-law.

Barbara A. Robinson, M.A.Sc., P.Eng., established Norton Engineering Inc. in 2015 following a successful 25-year private sector career and highlighted by two years as City Engineer for Kitchener.  Norton initiated the ongoing “Addressing Unacceptable Inflow and Infiltration (I/I) in New Subdivisions”, which is currently gaining national attention; she has given dozens of presentations on the topic.  She functions as senior QA/QC on Halton Region’s Downspout Disconnection projects and the Fort Erie Pollution Control Plan.  She has provided ongoing wastewater engineering services for the Township of Woolwich since 2001. Norton was works regularly with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) to undertake various projects, including a long-term project to calculate the “Societal Costs of I/I” and “Engineering Data and Flood Risk”. Barbara is currently Chairwoman of the CSA committee to develop a new national Basement Flood Protection Guideline (expected to evolve into a Standard), which was just posted for public review.  She sits on the WEAO Collections Systems Committee, ICLR Municipal Advisory Committee, and advises on the Durham Climate Resistance Standard for New Houses and the new BC Housing Standard. She also works for NRC and SCC.

Barbara works as a paid infrastructure columnist with CBC Radio, speaking on a wide range of infrastructure and engineering issues such as sewers, flooding, potholes & water towers. The column is regularly delivered on CBC Radio’s morning shows across Ontario.

Women in STEM: Abhilasha Bhatia


What made you want to participate in this panel discussion?

I have found myself at the center of "Women in STEM" topic for over a decade now. I started observing the disparity in gender while I was pursuing my Bachelor's in Technology degree. It was annoying to get attention for being a woman in tech rather than being a student willing to gain knowledge and grow. This only became more stark when I pursued higher studies and worked alongside, mostly male, colleagues. I wonder why gender difference is even a thing when everyone is working towards the same goal. But unfortunately it is at the workplaces. I want to participate in the panel to discuss and throw light on some of the challenges that I have faced, measures I have taken to overcome them, and the few that I am still fighting off. I also want to participate on this platform to send out a message to young girls to not be afraid of technology careers, and to the dominant forces in tech to step out of the way.

What are some things you do outside of work to help you develop personally and professionally?

I am a science geek. I like reading science and technology articles, mainly around astronomical sciences and, in this past year, analytics and data science. For centering my chi, I resort to ways to let my artistic expression flow in the form painting and dancing. It is very important for me to see life through different perspectives, and therefore enjoy listening to panel discussions and podcasts.

What has been the biggest learning curve in your career?

I think working with startups has been biggest learning curve for me thus far. One hustles, develops, learns on a daily basis. You join the dots together piece by piece, block by block. There is an open environment of ideas flowing, there is a culture you are contributing to strongly. Another point I would like to add is, experiencing different ethnic cultures and work environments has also contributed significantly to my growth.

When you think about your journey thus far, what would you say was the one trait that helped you get you to where you are today?

I believe in not quitting. And you can only be confident about it if you are open to learning and open to changes. All this while, even today, I keep my mind open to learning new things, be it more efficient ways of approaching a problem, to improving ways I can be more efficient ways, to optimizing my contributions.

What advice would you give to other women working in STEM?

Do not give up. It is a fact that the number of women who actually pick STEM as their careers, do not continue thereon for long, for a variety of reasons. I would like to ask them to remind themselves of the reasons they chose to be in a scientific field and what's holding them off now.   

Who do you look up to, and why?

There have been many people part of my journey that I look up to. My family has all along been a guiding light for the path I have chosen. My friends to challenge me to a competition. My colleagues and mentors at workplace, some of whom have challenged my beliefs and some of whom have helped me with ways to let my voice heard in a crowd.

Some public figures whose biographies, writings, and speeches I have thoroughly enjoyed are Dr. Kalpana Chawla (an astronaut), Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam (a scientist, and former President of India), Jocelyn Goldfein, and Steve Jobs.

Abhilasha Bhatia is a software engineer at Finaeo Inc. Her forte is backend development. From time to time she delves into frontend and dev-op projects that give control of the full development stack. She is a self-proclaimed science geek and loves to read articles on scientific innovation, especially about astronomical sciences.

Abhilasha’s encounters with technology started of as a kid in India playing with handheld game consoles. The very first building blocks were learning the “turtle graphics” in 3rd grade, using the Logo programming language. Followed by the widely discussed Y2K bug which gave her a realization of how technology is converging the world. Ever so pumped up with it, she took off to pursue an undergraduate in Computer Science from a state university in India and then decided to move on to pursuing higher studies in the United States. These were the years she faced the stark truth about the number of women opting for technology as their major. The female:male ratios in classes were astonishing. Fighting off the complex of “being the only girl” or “one of the two” to raise hands or participate in hackathons, she continued to tread her way past it to enter the workforce where the story wasn’t very different. As one goes up the ladder, the ratio bends further towards one side.

Those experiences made her question the causes behind such disparity among female students picking up STEM majors to actually pursuing and staying in these fields as a career. This is the major reason Abhilasha want her voice to make a difference by reaching to a greater audience.